Principal’s Advisory Council: Develop Structures that Elevate Student Voice in Equitable Ways

Diverse group of high school students speaking with each other in a meeting.

When we listen, we hear the stories people share that show their deeply held beliefs and the way they see the world.

– Margaret Wheatley


REFLECTION

  • Do students feel empowered to influence decision-making at your school?
  • If so, do those voices represent all students at your school or just a small group?

STEPS & GUIDANCE

  • Use protocols, systems, and structures for convening
  • Establish group norms
    • Start by giving students clear examples
    • Have students add any norms or take away ones
    • How do we as a group address if these norms aren’t being followed?
  • Practice conversation and listening
  • Use pronouns as a voluntary practice while establishing allyship
  • Establish/re-establish relationships
    • Ask how do we come together as a community to learners
    • Give students opportunities to learn more about each others’ stories outside of their groups so they can be better advocates
  • Stay curious about one another
  • Conversations is the natural way for humans to think together
  • It can be messy at times
  • End with a closing prompt

Related Articles

Resources We Love (And Hope You Will Too!)

During our May Counterpart meetings, we asked folks to share what they have been engaging with recently. Below is a list of all the resources shared by our incredible community, offering a taste of the diverse and inspiring content they’re currently exploring. This list has something for everyone: from thought-provoking articles to captivating podcasts to must-watch documentaries. So, take a peek, pick your poison, and get ready to dive into something fantastic!

Case Study: Merced Union High School District

Through its work with Inflexion, MUHSD is seeing strong results in student outcomes and in closing the opportunity gap for underserved students. California School Dashboard data show College/Career Indicator scores for African American, Hispanic, English Learners, students with disabilities, students who are homeless, and students who are socioeconomically disadvantaged are 16 to 29 points higher than the state average.

Passion. Pride. Promise. Two Leaders Help Pave the Way for Their Students & Communities

Tucked away in the hills of rural western Oregon, the Vernonia and Gaston school districts defy many of the stereotypes most of us hold when we think of rural schools. Their communities face both common and unique challenges. Vernonia Elementary Principal, Michelle Eagleson, and Gaston Superintendent, Summer Catino, share how their small schools and communities achieve greatness.

Use Another Word: Incorporating Student Voice in Key Decisions at All Levels

When Carmen Gelman—Ms. G to her students—arrived at Springfield High School as the new assistant principal, racial tension filled the campus and fights were at an all-time high. Although Springfield was the most diverse school in Lane County, students of color were not represented in AP/Honors courses, athletics, clubs, leadership, or other activities, which led to many of these students feeling marginalized, not accepted, and therefore disengaged. Ms. G needed to find a way to address these issues and she knew she could not do it herself. She needed help but, most importantly, she needed to hear other voices—and who better to share their voices about school and change than the students. After gathering and analyzing the data, the Use Another Word campaign was born, created by the students, to help change language that might lead to students feeling unwelcome or unheard at Springfield.

Student Cell Phone Policy: Best Practices for Student Success

As principal of Milwaukie High School, Carmen Gelman (now Director of Professional Development, Coalition of Oregon School Administrators, COSA) worked with the school community (including students) to ensure a firm but balanced approach to student cell phone use. We share their policy and rollout materials to inspire and guide you as you consider tackling this oft contentious topic.

5-Point Intervention Approach: Implementing PBIS with a Racial Equity Mindset

Many schools are implementing PBIS in efforts to reduce racial disproportionality in school discipline. Research shows that schools implementing PBIS with fidelity have more equitable school discipline, but eliminating disproportionality requires a specific equity focus. This resource highlights specific strategies and free Center on PBIS resources for enhancing the cultural responsiveness of PBIS systems.

Responses